Saturday, November 04, 2006

Who / What is “Sojack?”

The term Sojack is short for Notary Sojac. And my version uses a slightly modified spelling.

In my original disclaimer to the blog, I tried to explain how I came up with the idea to use the name “Sojack.”

“I needed a name for this blog and Sojack immediately came to mind. It also satisfies the requirements for OPSEC and just plain ole' personal anonymity. The word "Sojac" comes from the Smokey Stover comic strip that was popular in the 1920's and 30's. The phrase "Notary Sojac" was frequently used in the comic strip and few people knew what it meant. Supposedly in Gaelic it means Merry Christmas. I don't speak Gaelic so I can't confirm this. My dad grew up reading the comic strip and Notary Sojac became one of his favorite sayings. He still uses it today. Out of deference to my dad," and Bill Holman, "I've purposely misspelled "Sojac" as "Sojack." One Notary Sojac in the family is enough.”

As the internet has grown and matured over the last few years, a lot more information has become available online about Smokey Stover and the term “Notary Sojac,” as well as some other nonsensical terms found in the comic strip. I thought I’d share a little bit of this trivia with you.

Since I first began writing and compiling this blog, I’ve learned that “sojac” may also be Gaelic for “horsecrap.” Hmmm. That’s good to know, as I have a propensity for waxing poetic about nonsensical B.S.

Sojac is not the only nonsense term used in Bill Holman’s comic strip. The terms “foo” and “1506 (fifteen Oh six) nix, nix” were also coined by our beloved character Smokey Stover. “Foo” may have been inspired by the French term for fire, “feu.” It was also adopted in WWII by Allied aircraft pilots to refer to UFOs or mysterious aerial phenomena. They called them “Foo Fighters.” Interestingly enough there is also a rock band called the “Foo Fighters” which I rather like.

Holman said the term “Foo” was something his “uncle found… engraved on the bottom of a jade statue in San Francisco’s China town. The word Foo means Good-Luck.” Other sources say it means “happiness.”

In regards to “1506 nix, nix,” it was the hotel room number of a fellow daily news cartoonist Al Posen. I just like saying it...., “Fifteen oh six, nix, nix.” It really flows off the tongue.

Something I find really funny is the little known fact that at the 1968 Democratic National Convention, one of the delegates cast a vote for Smokey. Think it was his way of making a statement about the candidates?

Continuing in the rock band tradition of weird and obscure names, in the '60s and '70s, there was a band from the Pacific Northwest called “Notary Sojack.” As luck would have it, they are putting together a CD. I think I might order it!

More links about Notary Sojack, “sojac-isms,” Smokey Stover, and other useless but interesting trivia.

Official Smokey Stover Homepage

Straight Dope

Smokey Stover: Foo Fighter Extraordinaire

Foo Fighters: Mysterious Aerial Phenomena of WWII

Foo Fighters: The Rock Band


Anonymous said...

You should order the Notary Sojac CD! They were GREAT!!

Francofanatique said...

Hello! I found you when I googled "notary sojac." Their CD has just been released. You said you might order it; I think you should! I was there when this band formed, and some of them were friends of mine. They are (were) amazing -- almost all their music was original, with jazz influences. I notice you wrote that your favorite type of music is jazz. There is alot of fantastic music originating in the Pacific Northwest, by the way.

Sojack said...

Great! Where can I order it?

Anonymous said...

Hello Sojack:

I'm married to the guitar player of Notary Sojac - Give me your address and I'd be happy to send you a free CD. By the way, your writing is quite poetic.

Stay safe

Devon said...

Just a note on "notary sojac" - this is used once as the name of a racehorse in the Spike Jones routine "A Day at the Races".

Anonymous said...

My wife is a Notary Public, a very serious Notary Public -- and I ask her and her colleagues all the time: "what is a notary sojac?" Nobody could answer!

Thanks for the info on Smokey Stover -- I thought it was from the cartoon strip GASOLINE ALLEY, but my memory at age 69 is about shot!